Manchester United appoint John Murtough as football director, Darren Fletcher promoted to technical director
John Murtough (left) has been named as football director at Manchester United, while Darren Fletcher has been promoted to technical director - credit Manchester United
Manchester United have appointed John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director, the club announced today.
Murtough steps up from his job as head of football development at United to fill a role the club have been considering for several years.
Fletcher takes up his new post two months after returning to United as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's coaching team. The 37-year-old former United midfielder, who made more than 340 first-team appearances at Old Trafford, will continue to help out as a coach for the rest of the season.
Another change sees United's chief transfer negotiator Matt Judge, who previously had the rather incongruous title of head of corporate development, becoming director of football negotiations.
While significant, it's said the appointments will not make a 'material' difference to the day-to-day running of operations at Carrington in what has been described as 'evolution rather than revolution'.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, said: 'These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success.
'We have already made great strides forward in the way we run our football operations, and the benefits are visible in the resurgent pipeline of academy talent reaching the first team and through our improved recruitment record.
'John has been integral to our progress in these areas and his deep understanding of development ensures the club's traditions of bringing young players through from academy to first team will continue. This new position is a natural evolution that harnesses his leadership qualities and his years of experience in the game.
'Darren's stellar achievements as a player and his own journey from academy to Premier League and Champions League winner means he naturally commands respect and understands this vital part of the club's DNA.
'In this new role, the first in our history, he will deliver technical advice across all aspects of the football department as well as contributing to the communication and delivery of our football philosophy across all areas of the club.
'I am delighted that John and Darren have accepted these roles and I look forward to the contribution they will make, together with Ole and the rest of the staff, as we build toward future success.'
United have been looking at the director of football position for some time even though former manager Jose Mourinho made no secret of his opposition to the idea during his time in charge.
Big-name options - including former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, Lille director of football Luis Campos and Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell - were considered from outside the club but United decided to go with internal appointments that would complement the changes made to their infrastructure in terms of recruitment and development.
Murtough was brought to United seven years ago by David Moyes from the Premier League, where he was head of elite performance, after the two men worked together at Everton. He has overseen many of the changes of the first-team and academy structure at United as well as the formation of a women's team.
Seen as 'a fixer' who gets things done but is also open to new ideas, Murtough is already Solskjaer's main point of contact at Carrington day-to-day. He will now be the main contact for other clubs, taking some of the burden off Woodward, as well as the only man who reports directly to the United chief.
'This is such an exciting time for everyone at Manchester United with the first team, academy and women's team all performing strongly, and plenty of development still to come,' said Murtough.
'It's a privilege to be part of that process, and an honour to lead Manchester United's football department, working alongside Ole, Casey and so many other truly outstanding staff all dedicated to delivering success to this club.'
Fletcher was brought back to the club at Solskjaer's request with no plans to take on a wider role, but it's understood the Scot has made a huge impression since then.
He will have a longer-term view on the club's planning than Solskjaer, including guiding the futures of the club's top academy talent.
'It is great to be back with the club and I am delighted to be taking on this new role,' said Fletcher, who won the Champions League, five Premier League titles, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup and two League Cups under Sir Alex Ferguson.
'We are moving in the right direction and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Ole and his coaching team, and now with John as the football director, to help bring young players through and further develop the football side of the club.
'It's fantastic to see that all the staff here are driving Manchester United forward towards a new era of success.'